Post submitted by Viet Tran (he/him/they/them), former HRC Press Secretary
The “Americans for the Equality Act” series features film and television actors, professional athletes, digital influencers and musicians calling on Congress to advance historic, bipartisan legislation that would finally ensure LGBTQ people are protected under our nation’s civil rights laws.
HRC released a new video from HRC’s Americans for the Equality Act campaign featuring singer and songwriter Shea Diamond. In the new video, Diamond shares her powerful story as a transgender woman and artist from the South and calls on Congress to advance the Equality Act — bipartisan legislation that would finally extend clear, comprehensive non-discrimination protections to millions of LGBTQ people nationwide. The Americans for the Equality Act series, filmed by award-winning directors Dustin Lance Black and Paris Barclay, first launched last month with a debut video featuring Academy Award-winning actress Sally Field and her son Sam Greisman.
“Shea Diamond is a profoundly gifted singer and musician whose story of being a proud transgender woman of color from the South is giving hope to countless people across the nation. We are grateful to partner with her as she speaks out for the Equality Act,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “The harsh reality is that LGBTQ Americans face real and persistent discrimination in their everyday lives, and it’s far past time Congress take action and pass this legislation providing clear, comprehensive nationwide non-discrimination protections. Shea is a phenomenal talent and incredible advocate, and she delivers an empowering message of resilience and hope to LGBTQ youth, letting them know they deserve to feel safe, supported and protected under our nation’s civil rights laws.”
“So much of the progress of the LGBTQ movement has hinged on our ability to tell our stories and move people — and that’s the same spirit with which we’ve approached this compelling project,” said Emmy Award-winning director Paris Barclay when the campaign launched last month.
“Every American deserves a fair shot at a job to support themselves and their family, and the security of a roof over their head. These are key ingredients in what we’ve long cherished as our ‘American Dream.’” said Academy Award-winning director Dustin Lance Black. “But until the Equality Act is signed into law, this dream may not be a reality for far too many Americans in many areas of our wild and wonderful country.”
As a black transgender woman, Shea Diamond has always had to fight to live her truth and is committed to amplifying the voices and experiences of her community. This game-changing new singer-songwriter is living her dream with Seen It All — her soulful and soul-baring debut EP (Asylum Records) that was executive-produced by hit songwriter Justin Tranter. On Seen It All, Shea — who is now calling Los Angeles home as she sets out to conquer the music world — bravely tells her truth to a world that hasn’t always wanted to really see her. “I’m the flame that you can’t un-see,” she announces with unapologetic honesty on the haunting opener “American Pie.” Read more about Shea’s trailblazing journey as a recording artist here.
Currently, 50 percent of LGBTQ Americans live in one of the 30 states without statewide legal non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people — leaving millions at risk of being fired, denied housing or refused service simply because of who they are or whom they love. The Equality Act would guarantee existing civil rights laws apply to LGBTQ people by providing clear, consistent non-discrimination protections based on sexual orientation or gender identity across key areas of life, including employment, housing, credit, education, public spaces and services, federally-funded programs and jury service.
Reintroduced in Congress on March 13, the Equality Act has growing unprecedented support, including from nearly 70 percent of Americans, hundreds of members of Congress, 180 major businesses and more than 350 social justice, religious, medical and child welfare organizations. Recent polling finds that a growing majority of Americans support federal non-discrimination protections and LGBTQ equality. A recent survey by PRRI found that nearly seven in 10 Americans support laws like the Equality Act, including majorities in every single state and majorities of Republicans, Independents and Democrats alike.
Over the coming weeks, HRC will roll out additional videos in the Americans for the Equality Act series featuring a powerhouse lineup of supportive film and television actors, influencers, musicians and professional athletes, including Adam Rippon, Alexandra Billings, Charlie and Max Carver, Dustin Lance Black, Paris and Christopher Barclay, Gloria Calderon Kellett, Jamie Lee Curtis, Jane Lynch, Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Justin Mikita, Justina Machado, Karamo Brown, Marcia Gay Harden and Nyle DiMarco. The Americans for the Equality Act series is modeled after HRC’s successful Americans for Marriage Equality campaign.